Acrostar Mini Jet
Vehicle: Acrostar Mini Jet
Used By: James Bond
The Bede BD-5J (more commonly known as the "Acrostar") is a single-seat light and fast acrojet and is one of mere 100s ever manufactured. The brainchild of aircraft designer Jim Bede, the BD-5 (the 5J's predecessor) first took off in 1971 after 10 years of research and development.
The 'J' in the aircraft's codename indicates the model is fitted with a Sermel TRS-18-046 turbojet. The jet allows the Acrostar to reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour - 100mph more than its cousin the BD-5.
The designer took inspiration from a Schleicher ASW glider and was designed to be easy to fly, assemble and affordable to own. The early models were plagued by technical problems, including its V-tail providing such limited drag that spoilers were later added.
The Acrostar has a long history of reconnaissance and military training uses and enjoys United States Department of Defense certification. For more than 25 years the jet held the Guinness World record for the World's Smallest Jet.
It was pilot John William "Corkey" Fornof who discovered the Acrostar and recommended to Bond producer Cubby Broccoli that a pre-titles sequence be staged to involve the microjet. Corkey built and tweaked the jet for use in the film and as such inventor Jim Bede went uncredited. However, despite the craft having its name missing from the credits Bede gained a boost in interest when 007 piloted the light and nimble craft in the 1983 film. The BD-5J used for shooting "Octopussy" is on display in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona, USA.
James Bond goes under the radar and into an unknown "banana republic" (we assume it to be Cuba) where he impersonates a local military officer attending an equine event near a local air force base. Having been unmasked by the real Toro, Bond and his pretty accomplice stage and escape.
Deployed from the back of a horse float, the Acrostar 007 uses enjoys folding wings and a blue and red paint job. Launching off on a small road as the security forces speed after him, Bond takes to the air. The light and nimble craft is a useful getaway vehicle, especially when a homing missile is targeted at Bond.
Holding his own but unable to shake his explosive tail, Bond flies the Acrostar through the aircraft hanger that was earmarked for destruction. The goons on the air force base set about closing the door but the jet is too nimble and zips from one end of the hanger to the other. The missile destroys the target in an impressive explosion.
Bond, out of fuel, makes a serendipitous landing near a petrol station and asks the attendant to "fill 'er up please" before the main titles role.
The Acrostar was powered by a Micro-turbo TRS-18 a tiny but powerful jet engine. The plane could carry only the pilot, and was only 12 foot in length. It handled under the following performance:
- Top speed: 514 km/h
- Cruising speed: 432 km/h
- Thrust: 250 pounds
- Maximum altitude: 30,000 feet
- Climb rate: 2,800 feet per minute
Right: Corkey Fornof dressed as 007 with the Acrostar.
Above: The Acrostar used as a promotional gimmick for Bud Light.